Wind energy an opportunity for manufacturers

May 13, 2010   by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO: Auto parts maker Linamar Corp. says the growing market for wind power in North America presents a huge opportunity to expand its business.

CEO Linda Hasenfratz expects the US to install 15 million to 16 billion watts of wind power every year over the next 20 years. This means the industry will need $4.5 billion worth of machinery a year.

Linamar, a Guelph, Ont.-based auto parts maker, has been producing components for wind turbines in Europe, and will use its expertise to do the same in North America.

The company recently announced a strategic alliance with a German company to build and develop wind turbine components for customers in North America.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters released a joint report that says global investment in wind energy is projected to total more than US$1 trillion by 2020, bringing global installed capacity to more than 600,000 megawatts. 

“Wind energy represents a tremendous opportunity to create new green jobs in Canada’s manufacturing sector while at the same time encouraging the development of homegrown innovation in design and technology,” said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA.  “The more than 8,000 parts that go into a wind turbine require highly skilled trades and quality manufacturing facilities, both of which are in abundant supply in Canada.”

Acknowledging there is “great potential,” he said there is also significant competition with the US in terms of attracting and establishing new manufacturing capacity in Canada. “We must act now if Canada is to compete for its share of this growing market,” he said.

Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity in Canada with 950 megawatts of new wind energy capacity installed last year in eight provinces, placing Canada ninth globally for new installed capacity.

CanWEA said the new development represented more than $2.2 billion in investment, increasing total installed capacity to 3,319 megawatts. 

Siemens Energy announced Wednesday that it has been contracted to supply 43 wind turbines for a clean energy project near Thunder Bay, Ont.

Siemens said the turbines will be delivered to Montreal-based Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc., which also purchased 43 turbines last fall for a project near Chatham, Ont.

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